Monday, January 21, 2008


Discuss the ideas and experiences outlined in Prensky's article?
The main idea in this article is that schools or educational institutes have not evolved very much. They remain places for left brain learning and require students to adapt. Prensky argues that the Digital Natives need learning to reflect the world that they have grown up in. They live in a world of interactivity and engagement. He implies that the classroom has little to offer these learning styles.

Do these match with your experiences?
In my own schooling I must agree. There were very few teachers that made the lessons engaging. However now that I’m a teacher I apply my own style. I have always been considered ‘unorthodox’ in my methods. I like my students to learn through experience - hands on learning.
Like recently in an inquiry into natural resources I took my 3rd Graders to dig up some clay in a nearby village. The kids had already looked up some websites that showed how to identify which layer of earth is the clay layer. On this trip the kids got thoroughly dirty. The nannies freaked out! We then went to a local brick factory to see how the clay was made into house bricks and then back in the classroom make pinch pots with our village clay which we later dried and fired in a sawdust firing at the back of the school. We found out how to do this by watching some videos on You Tube. A normal school could not cope with this. I would have my lessons divided up neatly and expected to meet the learning outcomes within the 40 min lesson slots. At my current school I’m encouraged to integrate and can use the whole day when needed to pursue an inquiry. Oh don’t get the wrong idea, I have curriculum scope and sequences to fulfill as well. It’s just that if you are clever you can integrate Math, Science, Art and language together giving a much bigger block of time. Technology is integral not integrated.
Thankfully I’m no longer the odd teacher that does ‘weird’ stuff. I am now teaching at an IB - International Baccalaureate school. Whenever I plan a lesson I must ask myself the following:
Is it worth knowing?
Is it engaging?
Is it true?

Have you been in learning situations where you have been enraged by the methods that you were expected to use?
Yes, at boarding school. I crossed each day off on a big calendar until the next holiday. The teachers were so dull! I hated computers too. I couldn’t work them and it was all too technical. I hated the mouse and wished that I could just write directly onto the screen. I felt so disconnected.